Richard A. Simpson, who made his mark in virtually every phase of international cargo transportation especially his 23 years at Crowley Maritime Corporation, died Sunday following a long illness in Jacksonville, FL, where he had been on business.
Mr. Simpson suffered multiple health problems in the last few months until a sudden decline last week. He resided in Lafayette, CA, with his wife, and their daughter.
Dick Simpson’s family, including his son, was at his bedside when he died at St. Luke’s Hospital. Just last month he was honored by the Containerization & Intermodal Institute for more than 25 years of volunteerism and support he gave to the organization.
Mr. Simpson joined Crowley in 1977 as Vice President of Sales and Marketing and built the first sales force for the company. He created sales and marketing programs that are still in effect and hired a number of personnel who hold key positions today. He also initiated the first multi-year liner contracts with major customers which helped build Crowley’s share of the Caribbean trade from four to 35 percent in four years. In addition, he led the marketing expansion to Lake Charles, LA, and Pennsauken, NJ; launched the TeleSales department; Company Store; “Two Men at the Helm” Crowley history book; Thomas Crowley Trophy Program, and the Crowley employee newsletter.
Dick Simpson had also been responsible for initiating and managing the Crowley image through advertising and public and media relations programs. He has represented Crowley in industry activities with honors, having served in a number of capacities including Chairman and President of the Containerization and Intermodal Institute and member of its board since 1980; Chairman of the American Waterway Operators Public Affairs; United Seamen’s Service, AOTOS Award Committee and as Vice President of the National Freight Association.
Simpson had held assignments with Crowley Maritime Corporation, Crowley American Transport and Crowley Marine Services during his 23 years with the company, and had relocated seven times, including two stints in Jacksonville. On his retirement from Crowley in 2000, he was a Corporate Officer, Vice President of Public Relations and a recipient of the company’s highest honor, the Thomas Crowley Trophy (1986).
He was born in Buffalo, NY, the son of a US Navy officer, and the family lived in various locations before settling in Jacksonville when he was a teenager. He graduated from Lee High School and went on to Alabama State Teachers College. He was a member of the National Guard. Dick Simpson’s first job in transportation was with Great Southern Truck Lines, which became Ryder Trucks. He then went on to Railway Express where he was appointed one of the youngest vice presidents at the company. Following a stint at Acme Freight, Simpson became a consultant in sales and marketing at the fledgling Federal Express in its early air cargo years. From FedEx, he joined Crowley Maritime.
Following his retirement from Crowley, Dick became president of International Transport Logistics and was working at Aqua Gulf at the time of his death. An avid sports fan, he often organized trips for large groups of friends and colleagues to major sporting events, as well as fishing expeditions to Alaska, where he had spent time handling projects for Crowley in oil field support.
Besides his wife, daughter and son, Simpson’s survivors include his mother,
Gladys of San Pedro, CA, and his brother and sister-in-law, Carl and Margaret Simpson of Jacksonville and numerous nephews and nieces.